To the Editor – May 2023

Re:  “From Dingle Hill — The Coyotes,” by Peg DiBenedetto, April 2023

I grew up on a farm in western Kentucky. My family established the farm in 1805.  My father was a farmer, and he grieved whenever he lost a single chicken, lamb, pig, or calf.  He went to great lengths to provide secure housing for the animals, hoping to keep predators, like foxes away from the young at night.  So, I am sympathetic to all farmers who worry about foxes, coyotes, or wolves preying on their livestock, and I understand their gut-wrenching concern.

I have recently read two novels about how all creatures in our world are interconnected.  Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, Prodigal Summer, focuses on coyotes in the western Appalachian Mountains; Charlotte McConaghy’s novel, Once There Were Wolvesdepicts the reintroduction of wolves into the Scottish Highlands.  These books made me think about how we have altered our environment by exterminating apex predators with unintended and often regrettable consequences.  I recommend both of these books.

I have seen several documentaries about how apex predators improve their habitats to the benefit of all species (both animals and plants) that live there.  I have read about efforts to re-establish wolf populations in some parts of western United States.  (My family has two stories of our interactions with wolves in the early 1800s—both super scary!) .

Please thank Ms DiBenedetto for her article about the coyotes on Dingle Hill—which, as the eagle flies, is very close to our house.  I am glad that her husband was able to remove the trap from the coyote’s legs. I enjoyed reading the article, and I have added her information to my mental file on the canids, which once lived and thrived across our continent.


Mary Sue Lindley Geiger